Google Best for Your Smartphone?

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Google could be the place to look for the website you want, thanks to new technology being used. Searches will now label websites that are the most mobile-friendly after the media giant made changes first announced in February.

From April 21, Google will label those websites that are deemed to work well on a variety of mobile devices. This is bad news for the likes of the BBC, the European Union and Wikipedia, which saw many of its pages, when run through Google’s developer tool in a Mobile-Friendly Test, actually fail the test. The Mobile-Friendly Test analyses a particular URL and then reports if that page is considered to have a mobile-friendly design. This aims to help stop the common problem of doing a search on your mobile phone and then finding yourself squinting at tiny text and links and having to continually scroll sideways in order to see all of the content.

Those sites where this does not happen will be given a Google mobile-friendly label, and users across the world will start to see benefits of new mobile-friendly searches within the next month. Google will use the Googlebot spider to determine which websites meet a set of predetermined criteria. These include using text that can be read easily without the need to zoom, avoiding software not found on the majority of mobile phones and tablets, such as Adobe Flash Player, and sizing the content to prevent users having to scroll horizontally. Googlebot also detects sites that spaces links well to ensure that the right one can be tapped easily and without mistakes.

If you want to ensure that your own website will benefit from the latest Google change, you can check your own pages using the Mobile-Friendly Test. Google has also updated its advice on its Webmasters’ Mobile Guide to help you improve or create your mobile site, and the Mobile Usability Report feature can highlight major usability issues on your site and not just on a single page.

The mobile-friendly labels are the first step in Google’s latest quest. The company is also looking into how the criteria can be used to affect rankings. This should make finding good sites to use on your new Nexus 6 easier than ever. A Google spokesman said the new service reflected the growing numbers of people who now use mobile devices for searching the internet. The representative said that the company wanted to ensure that people could quickly find the information that they want and in a format that can be read easily and allows for easy interaction even on a smaller screen.

If you are now thinking about the work needed on your own website, there is advice available, and not just from Google itself. Distilled has a How to Build Your Mobile-Friendly Guide, and there is plenty of information on Mobile-Friendly Websites. You might want to get the gen straight from the horse’s mouth, however, to make sure you really aren’t caught out by those new criteria.